(Eds: Updating with fresh inputs) Bhubaneswar, Jul 27 (PTI) Odisha's COVID-19 tally shot up to 26,892 with 1,503 fresh cases, while the death toll rose to 147 as seven more people succumbed to the virus, a health department official said on Monday.
Three deaths were reported from Ganjam district and one fatality each was recorded in Sundergarh, Khurda, Cuttack and Malkangiri districts, he said.
Four of the deceased were suffering from either diabetes or hypertension.
The state also registered a recovery of as many as 581 patients taking the total number of patients cured of the disease so far to 17,374. Odisha now has 9,9337 active COVID- 19 cases, the official said.
What has come as a concern for the state is the high positivity rate which stands at 16.11 per cent against the national average of 10 per cent. Of the 9,327 samples tested on Sunday, 1,503 came out positive, the official data released by the state health department said.
Ganjam district, Odisha's coronavirus hotspot, accounted for the highest number of 491 fresh cases, followed by Khurda (223) and Cuttack (136).
Ganjam has also accounted for the highest number of 82 deaths so far, followed by Khurda district with 18, Cuttack with 10, Gajapati with nine, Sundergarh with six, Rayagada with four, two each in Angul, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatssinghpur, Kendrapara and Puri, and one each from Malkangiri, Nayagarh, Kandhamal, Jajpur, Jharsuguda and Bargarh.
Ganjam district's COVID-19 tally stood at 9,169 on Monday. The district has so far reported 5,836 recoveries.
There are 3,251 active cases, the highest among the districts in the state.
Of the 223 fresh cases reported from Khurda district, 159 are from Bhubaneswar, taking the state capital's tally to 2,150, of which 12 are dead and 1,011 have recovered. The city has 1,125 active cases, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) said.
Keeping in view the surge of cases in the state, Director of the Institute of Life Sciences (ILS) Ajay Parida said this is the peak of the pandemic in Odisha.
It cannot be said at present whether it will rise or subside in the coming days, he added.
The total caseload in Odisha will be less if the number of patients from Ganjam, Khurda and Cuttack districts goes down, Parida said.
He added that the state government has planned to increase the number of COVID-19 tests to 15,000 per day from August.
In the backdrop of rising positivity rate in the state, the Odisha government now pins hope on the plasma therapy to contain the fatalities and started a programme named Covid Bandhu in Ganjam district where recovered patients are encouraged to donate plasma.
The chief minister appreciated the recovered Covid patients who are now enrolling for plasma donation and acting as 'Covid Bandhu' to provide support to active cases in Ganjam district.
As many as 283 recovered persons in Ganjam district are working as 'Covid Bandhu' while 205 persons have enrolled themselves to donate Plasma voluntarily, an official said.
Meanwhile, Chief Secretary A K Tripathy asked all the district collectors and Chief District Medical Officers (CDMOs) to make advance arrangements in all matters keeping in view the prospective scenario tillthe end of August.
'We have sufficient stock of testing kits and medicine. Around 1,16,000 anti-gen test kits have already been supplied to the districts. Each district will be supplied as per their demands,' he said.
The top official asked collectors to enhance per day sample collection at least 500.
The hotspot districts were asked to scale up to 1,000 per day for early detection and treatment.
Vice-Chancellor of SOA Deemed University Dr Ashok Mohapatra, however, said the virus surge is likely to come down in the next 15 days as it happened in Delhi and Mumbai.
Though there has been a rise in positive cases, the death toll continues to remain below 1 per cent, he said. PTI AAM NN NN